Can You Use Bread Flour For Cake? Answers, Uses & Substitutes

Maybe you’re in the mood for a sweet cake treat but you’re out of cake flour and you’re wondering if bread flour will suffice or you’re simply curious as to whether you can switch flours for baking cake, then you need to read this article to end as it provides answers to your questions.

As you know, cakes are light and fluffy but using bread flour instead of cake flour will give you a dense and chewy result that is more similar to bread. Why is this so? What then can you use as an alternative for cake flour?

This article explains all you need to know about the subject matter. In the end, you’d understand why bread flour isn’t good enough for making cake, and what you can use instead.

What is Bread Flour?

Bread flour is a hard, high-gluten flour that is perfect for making bread, bagels, cinnamon rolls, and the like. Because of its high gluten content of about 12% to 14%, its dough has high elastic toughness and holds up well into shape.

That is why it is best for products that need more structure. Also, baking with bread flour results in a chewy and dense product just like bread.

What are The Uses of Bread Flour?

Bread flour is good for baking products that require more structure and a chewy and dense texture. It is basically perfect for baking bread, but it is a good option for other products like:

  • Bagels
  • Pizza
  • Cinnamon Buns
  • Sourdough Bread
  • Dinner Rolls
  • Pretzels

SEE: If Cake Is Bread and Why They Get Mixed Up

What is the Difference Between Bread Flour and Cake Flour?

Both bread and cake flour is made from wheat, but the difference is the proportion of protein present in each of them. Bread flour is made from hard red spring wheat which is high in protein.

The higher the protein present in the flour, the more the gluten is released when mixed with water. This gives bread flour the light and elastic texture that it needs to make good bread dough.

Cake flour on the other hand is made from soft wheat and has relatively lower protein with a gluten content of 6% to 8%. The low gluten formation in cake flour is important to get a soft and fluffy result when it’s baked.

Additionally, cake flour has an all-white and fine texture compared to the coarse and off-white color of bread flour.

SEE: Differences Between Maida and All-Purpose Flour

Can You Substitute Bread Flour for Cake Flour?

Yes, however, the result would be a chewy, dense cake that isn’t close to the traditional cake you crave. This is because of the high proportion of gluten present in bread flour.

Cakes are meant to be fluffy and airy, so, they do not need so much protein in the flour mix. Else, the mix will turn out to be thick and elastic which is only good if you’re baking food that has a chewy and dense texture.

But, if you’re craving cake and bread flour seems to be the only available flour in your cupboard, there is a recipe that can help you get a better cake texture.

SEE: Substitutes for Spelt Flour

Can You Turn Bread Flour into Cake Flour?

It is not possible to turn bread flour into cake flour, but if you mix bread flour with cornstarch and baking powder, you can get something reasonable enough to bake a cake.

Cornstarch and baking powder helps to reduce the protein content in bread flour and give the cake light and fluffy texture.

You can follow these baking steps:

1.  Step 1

Measure the same amount of cake flour you will need in your recipe for bread flour.

2. Step 2

Remove 20 grams and 3 tablespoons of bread flour from every 100 grams. So, if your recipe is 200 grams of bread cake, take out 40 grams and 6 tablespoons of bread flour.

3. Step 3

Replace the 20 grams of bread flour taken out with cornstarch and the 3 tablespoons with baking powder.

SEE: Is Cornstarch Baking Powder

3. Step 4

Mix the three ingredients together and sift at least 3 times or grind it into a fine-mesh strainer to break down lumps in the flour and to achieve an airer texture that’s close to cake flour.

Is Cake Flour Always Best for Baking Cake?

Surprisingly, cake flour is not the best flour for all types of cake. Cake flour is appropriate for fluffy cakes like red velvet, vanilla, and white cake.

But, chocolate cake for example needs more protein to hold up well into shape because of the dry cocoa powder in its recipe. Using cake flour will make the cake flimsy and shrink.

All-purpose flour contains higher protein than cake flour and lesser protein than bread flour. So it is best for baking chocolate cake because it helps the cake to maintain its fluffy texture.

Carrot cake and banana cake also include wet ingredients in their recipe as a result they need all-purpose flour to hold up well.

SEE: Substitutes for Almond Flour

FAQs

Can you use bread flour to make cupcakes?

Bread flour has high protein content, so it isn’t suitable for cupcakes.

What is the best flour for baking cake?

The best flour for baking cakes is cake flour. However, some cakes require more protein, so all-purpose flour is a better option for them.

What are cake flour alternatives?

Bread flour with cornstarch and baking powder or all-purpose flour with cornstarch can serve as an alternative for cake flour.

SEE: Can Cornstarch Go Bad After a Long While

Final Thoughts

Bread flour is specifically designed for making bread but if it’s the only flour you have at the moment, you can try using it. By mixing it with cornstarch and baking powder, you can get something reasonable. However, I wouldn’t recommend it because the cake would be chewy and dense.

A better alternative to cake flour is all-purpose cake. It has a protein content of 8% to 10%, so it will do well with a lot of baked products. But cake flour is certainly your best bet for making your cake.

Lastly, it will amaze you to know that there are so many gluten-free flours you didn’t know are just good as wheat flour.

I hope this article was helpful. Thanks for reading.